Categories: Lion

Picture and video of baboon carrying lion cub in tree and grooming it. What happened next?

Baboon with lion cub in mouth in tree. The baboon groomed the cub but what happened next? Photo: Kurt Schultz

An experienced Ranger, Kurt Schultz, at the Kruger National Park says that this was a unique experience because he had never seen it before. He describes what he believed at the time was a female baboon – but which he later corrects and says is a young male – carrying a lion cub in a tree and then grooming it. He says that the baboon ‘stole’ the lion. Perhaps the cub was hidden in the vegetation and was spotted by the baboons. Where was the mother? Perhaps she was out hunting. He was in the S21 part of the Kruger NP to do some wildlife photography when he saw the event unfold. He describes it as an incredible and a never before seen moment. It happened on Saturday, 1 February 2020.

He says that the baboon was treating the lion cub as if it was a young baboon. He spent an hour at the site and left at about 9 am. He says that it is normal for troops of baboons to kill young leopard and even lion. But on this occasion the baboon was nurturing and caring for a young predator. The question, however, that I have is whether after he went the baboon killed the cub and ate it. That must be the question in the minds of viewers of the video on this page.

At one and same time it is strange, fascinating and unnerving but to be honest I have a strong feeling that this cub’s life ended not long after Kurt stopped videoing. I’ve seen pictures of lions and cheetahs playing and being gentle with prey animals such as young antelopes and then killing the animal. It just seems to be confused state of mind by the predator.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • We can hope it didn't end this way but I'm afraid you're right Michael, afraid being the operative word. To me it's extremely sad and tragic any time a young innocent is brutalized or killed and eaten. It's a way of nature but I don't have to like it.

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